Dungeons & Dragons 4.0 – Sort of a Pen, Paper, & Dice Game

Adventure Atari 2600
This post is brought to you by Adventure for the Atari 2600. Don’t get eaten by the… seahorse? Ostrich? I think the main character would be the best Con outfit ever. The Adventure square, the original fantasy game hero…

There have been a lot of whispers as of late about there finally being a new edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and how people feel about what has been announced (or just rumored). There are plenty of things that are making me gape and cringe, one of them being the attempt of Wizards of the Coast to try and make AD&D a pen, paper, dice, and laptop game.

It sounds cool to have an online community to access resources and have discussions. It seems WoC is planning for this to be a place to either print out all of your materials or just plain play. Your mouse is your dry erase marker and avatars are your miniatures.

How do we feel about this? There is no need to look at each other or interact… just look online!

This is what I see happening…

“You encounter a roving band of rogues. Wait a minute while a print it out. Or better yet, log in and we can all see the map over the internet!”

“Cool. It’s like a LAN party. Can we play Doom?”

“If we’re just going to play on the internet, why did we drive to your house?”

“For the cheetos and mountain dew, duh!”

“I have those at my house. Why did I drive if I didn’t need to? I could be playing naked. I want to cast magic missile… naked!”

“Dude, that’s creepy. But I see your point. I could be home, playing World of Warcraft and this game at the same time.”

“Why don’t we just all play World of Warcraft instead?”

“Good idea.”


“Uh, no. Not a good idea. But, what you do in your own house is your business.”

Scary stuff, huh? It sounds like a lot of the things WoC is removing, changing, or adding are an attempt to lure the MMORPG crowd into the AD&D fold.

Any thoughts on this?

Role Playing is Playing a Role

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Pools of Radiance Japan
This post is brought to you by AD&D: Pools of Radiance for the NES, or should I say Famicom? This screen shot is inviting heroes to step up in New Phlan. Really, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

I recently started role playing again, and as much as it feels like sitting in that comfy divit in an old chair, I think maybe I picked the wrong chair.

A game master (aka GM or DM: one who runs the game) puts forth a framework in which to operate our imaginations. By playing in their game, we are accepting to follow that framework alongside the imaginings of the fellow players. The GM provides the world and our tasks, and we provide the heroes.

I realized that is my problem with this game I’ve recently joined. We didn’t provide the heroes. We had to fill in most of the lines on the character sheet- like our starting equipment, but we didn’t get to pick the name, sex, race (eg: elf), class (eg: wizard), or background (recent & far past) of our characters. Since we are a sum of our experiences and genetics, that sort of sums up the whole personality of the character we’re playing. We didn’t come up with our role to play while role playing.

At first, I saw it as a challenge. Play a character you would have never come up with on your own. I thought it would be kind of closer to acting in a play. I thought it could be fun.

And it is a challenge, so much so that not only do I feel like I don’t relate to my character in any way, I feel like I don’t know what my own character would do in most given situations. If given time to think I might come up with a list of things he might do with reasonings, but I don’t exactly have that luxury while playing in real time. It’s getting frustrating.

I love characters. If you would ask me why I write fiction or read it… why I play the video games I do or like the movies and shows I watch, it’s the characters. I admire the way they are developed through the story, their interactions through dialogs and gestures, and seeing how they grow and change. In a good story, you get to know the characters as if they’re real people and feel interested and invested enough in them to care what happens to them.

Is it such a stretch to think that the reason I love role playing is coming up with and playing a character? I love being the GM to make up and play many roles. Players only get to be one, single hero. I’m feeling like I’m fitting into my role like it’s a few sizes off, and it’s no wonder. I didn’t come up with or chose it. The one bit of creation that a player is allowed is their character, and I was denied that chance.

And so, it’s no wonder I’m thinking of leaving the group. It makes me sad because the players are top-notch. I really like playing with them a lot.

And the GMing isn’t so bad either, it’s just that he inadvertently took away my favorite part of role playing.

A lesson learned, I guess, but it’s a lesson I already learned once before.

In Milford, MA there used to be a gaming store called The Gamers’ Guild. I was in a game once where I was only allowed to play if I took on an existing NPC (non player character). There were two I was able to chose from. I selected the one I thought would be more fun based on her class.

Then, I tried to develop her as a character through playing her. I was told that my character wouldn’t do this or say that. I found out my character had a history and personality and relationships that I wasn’t aware of. Every time I tried to speak or act, I found myself defending my actions to one player in particular. In short, I found out that this wasn’t my character.

Yet again, they were a group of pretty awesome players, but it wasn’t allowed to role play, I was just a warm body rolling for a NPC of someone else’s imagination.

So, I feel like I don’t want to mess up the game by quitting. I also don’t want to stop playing with these neat people, but I’m fast losing interest in trying to play this character. For all of you thinking I should just kill him off, the in game situation makes even that very difficult.

Should next week be my last game? I can overcome any number of other game flaws if I enjoy playing my character, but without that, I’m not sure anything else is enough.

I think it may be time to take up the mantle of GM once again.

Waywards Wandering – Chapter 4: Knowing Everything, A Screen Shot For Every Post

AD&D Pools of Radiance screen shot
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pools of Radiance (PC version) – Unlike the NES version of this game, the Commadore 64, Atari St, and PC versions allowed you to customize the character portraits and map icons. They also supported trans gendered characters. :) This dwarf is hot!

I’m changing the post format so I will be giving you a screen shot of something wonderful every post (likely a video game scene). I was dedicating whole posts to many at a time, but why not hoard them and let them trickle out so you may appreciate each one like the work of art it is?

Now continues the story of a large walking lizard and his pet monk. Click here to see all of the story so far.

– – – – –

That morning Kanji and Deathwish stood outside the temple packed for the road. They were now well rested and well fed. Father Salane was also generous enough to donate supplies and a small sum of money from the temple stores. Father Salane in turn charged that they help rid the world of its ills and watch over Lashea.

Where is she? At this rate we’ll loose the whole morning, Deathwish had begun the morning in high spirits but was fast growing irritated as his shadow grew shorter.

Kanji started to open his mouth in Lashea’s defense, but quickly stopped. Kanji could imagine that leaving home for the first time was difficult, as he remembered doing it himself many years ago. He could understand why Lashea was late, trying to say goodbye to everyone and everything she knew perhaps forever.

On the other hand, Deathwish wouldn’t understand such a comment if Kanji had made it, since he never got a chance to say goodbye to his home before being torn from it and plunged into this world. Kanji stood as Deathwish paced, silently praying to Brihaad. He opened his eyes when he finally heard the temple doors open and slam shut.

“Sorry I’m late,” huffed Lashea jogging to Kanji’s side, “I underestimated how long it would take me to pack,” On Lashea’s back was a huge, bulging backpack that looked as if it were about to rip under the strain of its contents. Packed aside it was her large sword, on top were rolled blankets, and pots and pans attached jangling at her side. From her belt she sported three large belt pouches which jangled and bounced off her thighs as she jogged up to her new companions.

“What’s that horrible smell?” she asked coming to stand by Kanji and Deathwish.

Kanji sighed and glanced at Deathwish, not even having to hear his unhappy thoughts. He then smiled at Lashea as kindly as he could manage and pointed at her back, “Um, what’s all of this?”

“They are my things, of course,” replied Lashea, confused.

“Lashea,” Kanji put on a gentle tone, “we’re going to be traveling a long way on foot. You’re not going to want to carry all of that. I’m sure there are things in there that you don’t need.”

Lashea bristled at what she interpreted as a condescending tone. She strode up to Kanji, and purposely looked down at him at an exaggerated angle being a full head taller than the monk, “I think I’m more than capable at determining what I do and don’t need. All I have are my clothes, books, bedding, money, food, eating utensils, dishes, pots, soap, hairbrush-”

Two rules: you carry it. If you can’t, you leave it behind without complaint, Deathwish turned away and started walking down the steps of the temple, his claws clicking on the stone, pulling his cowl into place.

Kanji looked up at Lashea, “Just consider how you would fight a monster so encumbered.”

Lashea merely stared at that point, brows furrowed, arms crossed, “Well, I’d put the pack down of c-”

While the monster waited for you to be ready! Speaking of monsters waiting for people to be ready, let’s get a move on, shall we?

“I’ll be back in a minute,” Lashea muttered, her face bright red with anger or embarrassment, Kanji was not sure. She turned around and rushed back into the temple. Kanji heard a chuckle coming from up above and looked up to see Clavus laughing and shaking his bald head.

“Be patient with her, you two. Remember, none of us started out knowing everything. That took some time.”

Kanji digested the irony of his words and realized they were likely aimed at the annoyed Deathwish who walked, talons clicking, back up the temple stairs. Kanji smiled and nodded at the plump priest and waited for Lashea, Deathwish remaining silent and managing to stand still.

Inspirational Video Game Quotes Part Deux

Breath of Fire SNES Shoop!I felt like there needed to be a second edition once I started reminiscing. Playing roms and giggling should be shared! So here is the sequel, the quotes that I remember and love for their charm, wit, or plain old badness. Click here to see part one.
– – – – –

“Hmm, don’t have time to play with myself!”
– Duke Nukem 3d, Duke Nukem said when using action button on arcade game of the same name (PC)

Chrono Trigger SNES Nu

Guybrush: “You fight like a Dairy Farmer!”
Pirate: “How appropriate, you fight like a Cow!”
– Guybrush Threepwood, Monkey Island 1: The Secrey of Monkey Island (PC)

“Hmm, a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle. What possible use could that have?”
– Guybrush Threepwood, Monkey Island 1: The Secrey of Monkey Island (PC)

Breath of Fire 2 SNES Die

“Am I butterfly dreaming I’m a man? Or a bowling ball dreaming I’m a plate of sashimi? Never assume what you see and feel is real!” – Doreen, Chrono Trigger (SNES)

Dragon Warrior 4 NES Counter

“In our world, every storm has an end. Every night brings a new day. What’s important is to trust those you love, and never give up. We must never give up hope!” – Priestess in the Cathedral, Chrono Trigger (SNES)

“How do I get out of this chicken outfit?!” – Marine, StarCraft (PC)

“I really have to go… number one.” – Battle Cruiser, StarCraft (PC)

Dragon Warrior 3 NES Pepper

“E=MC… d’oh let me get my notepad.” – Science Vessel, StarCraft (PC)

“This is not Warcraft in space!” – Artanis, StarCraft (PC)

“Besides humans, dogs also sleep at night. Why aren’t you asleep?” – Dog, Earthbound (SNES)

“Run, run, or you’ll be well done!” – Kefka, Final Fantasy 3 (SNES) 6 (PS)

Earthbound SNES Nausea

“I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate HATE YOU!!” – Kefka, Final Fantasy 3 (SNES) 6 (PS)

“Terra. . . Please wait for me. . . And. . . please. . . don’t let a lecherous young king, who shall remain nameless, near you!” – Locke Cole, Final Fantasy 3 (SNES) 6 (PS)

“Thou are so… odd.” – Cyan, Final Fantasy 3 (SNES) 6 (PS)

Final Fantasy 1 NES FIEND

“I’m working for the Empire. But, don’t worry… I’m not going to garrote you!” – Shadow, Final Fantasy 3 (SNES) 6 (PS

“This monkey’s going to give you a spanking, Shupkay!” – Sten, Breath of Fire 2 (SNES)

Natsume: “Thanks! But I have nothing to give you in return..except, maybe myself…”
Kite: “WHAT?!?!”
Natsume: “No! I meant I could help you out if you need it…”
– .hack//MUTATION (PS2)

Goonies 2 NES Ouch What

Man: “Here’s your question. ‘What’s the secret to success in business?'”
Hero: “…”
Man: “That’s right! Silence. Silence is golden.”
Hero: “?”
– Dragon Warrior 4 (NES)

“Sure.. hope this is not… Chris’s blood.”
– Barry says stilted like Kirk in Star Trek, Resident Evil (PS)

Lufia 2 SNES Master Catfish

“One more wrong move and you would of been a Jill sandwich”
– Barry says to Jill, Resident Evil (PS)

“That’s a face only a sledgehammer could love, and has!” – Morte, AD&D: Planescape: Torment (PC)

Fall-from-Grace: “You know, Nordrom, you are perhaps the cutest little rogue modron I have ever encountered.”
Nordom: “‘Cutest’ is a subjective term. I prefer the designation ‘fearsome clubed warrior’.”
Fall-from-Grace: “Of course! That’s why you’re so cute.”
– AD&D: Planescape: Torment (PC)

Lufia 2 SNES Master Monster or Human

Nordom: “A query, Annah: is your tail’s purpose to indicate your current level of hostility?”
Annah: *angrily* “What kind of stupid question is that you pikin’ sod box?”
Nordom: “My analysis is correct. Danger! Danger!”
– AD&D: Planscape: Torment (PC)

Morte: “Hey Nordom, knock-knock.”
Nordom: “Why do you persist in addressing me as a door?”
Morte: “It’s a joke, you stupid polygon! You’re supposed to answer ‘Who’s there?'”
Nordom: “I know who is there. It is you. Why would I ask a question when I already know the answer?”
Morte: “Just forget it.”
– AD&D: Planescape: Torment (PC)

Lufia 2 SNES Confront Swell

– – – – –

Let me end this with a quote about video games from the once upon a time president of the USA, Ronald Reagan made August 8, 1983:

“I recently learned something quite interesting about video games. Many young people have developed incredible hand, eye, and brain coordination in playing these games. The air force believes these kids will be our outstanding pilots should they fly our jets.”
Final Fantasy 2 SNES 4 PS Dwarves

So let us fly their jets.

Screen shots from the top:
Breath of Fire (SNES)
Chrono Trigger (SNES)
Breath of Fire 2 (SNES)
Dragon Warrior 4 (NES)
Dragon Warrior 3 (NES)
Earthbound (SNES)
Final Fantasy 1 (NES)
Goonies 2 (NES)
(next three) Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals (SNES)
Final Fantasy 2 (SNES) 4 (PS)